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A Hunka Burning Love


"Uh-huh-huh. This your hunka hunka burnin' love Priscila?"

The little dude was like Elvis in his fat years, the white rhinestone suit he wore was straining against his gut. One black side burn was longer than the other and his eyes reminded me of a hamster's: little, black and beady. There was a sheen of sweat on his curled upper lip. The top of his bouffant hair didn't reach the top of the backseat. It was no wonder I hadn't seen him.

"No, this is Nick and my name is Lark, not Priscilla."

"All you lovely ladies are 'cilla's," he crooned. "Uh-huh-huh." He stopped and tugged at his collar. "Elvis is burning up. Let's make this car like a cold and gray Chicago mornin' instead."

"You're seriously gonna let this guy do your wedding?" I asked. Lark stepped aside so I could get behind the wheel. Sure enough, the little needle was on hot. The car itself chugged beneath my ass.

"I think you just need to turn it off." I said.

"But then it'll get hot," she argued.

"Elvis could use some food. Got any peanut butter and banana sandwiches around her teddy bear?"

She sucked so much air between her teeth that she practically whistled. "I'm going to kill him."

I glanced in the rearview mirror. Mini-Elvis was picking his nose.

"Let's go have a chat in my office," I suggested. I got out and slammed the door shut. Elvis' face peered out the side window. He looked like he was trying to press the window control.

"I put the child safety locks on," she explained.

We headed back to my car. I cranked it up the moment we got inside. Lark lifted her hair and tilted forward. "Ahhh."

She had a tattoo on her back, but the dress was covering a lot of it up. I looked ahead at her car and saw that Elvis was now standing on the seat.

Elvis was pissed.

"So you're getting married?"

"I was."

"You're not now?"

She turned her head and smiled at me, all the while keeping her hair up to bask in the cold air. "This traffic jam is a sign from God. It has to be. How else do you explain it?"

"Well," I scratched my chin. Now I was hot from moving around and the shit was making me sweat more than normal. And it itched. "Some dude could have jumped again or blown his brains out. That happens like daily, but combined with construction and rush hour and the fact that it's summer..."

"He wanted the Elvis," Lark said. "But he wouldn't pick him up. Now he thinks I'm standing him up on purpose."

"Are you?"

"As of now? Yes."

"So I'm guessing this was true love?"

Lark snorted. "Friend from high school."

I know I must have looked confused because she sat up, let her hair fall and gestured to the car. "We made a pact in high school that if we were still single by the time we turned thirty that we'd just marry each other. So I turned thirty last week and he turned thirty a month ago and...well I'm sure you can fill in the blanks."

"You're kidding."

She shook her head. "No, really, it's true. I--"

"You can't be thirty."

She stopped and looked at me for a full minute before she laughed. "That's the unbelievable part?

"Yeah I mean you don't look older than twenty five."

"Thanks. You're cute."

I grinned. "Is your fiancée cute?"

She wrinkled her nose. "He's bald. And an accountant."

I shuddered. "Bald accountants are the worst."

We both started to laugh. Up ahead, mini Elvis was beating on the window.

"I think he's turning purple," I remarked.

"I better go see about letting him out." She tilted her head. "He kinda looks like a puppy, dont'cha think?"

My grin grew wider. Maybe it was the start of delirium, but I saw what she was talking about.

"You better hope he's potty trained," I said.

"Otherwise I hope you paid extra to Scotch Guard those seats."